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    Jwolf
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The English Year - 38. Of Booze, Boys, Brothers, and Bigs

You're in the game now. I hope you have the stomach for it.

Waking up next to Pete should have been romantic. He’d stayed with me all night long, held on to me, kissed me. It should have been the thing of dreams, and yet, somehow, it had turned into a living nightmare.

Not only was I forced to lay there with an IV while he called my pledge brothers to tell them I was awake, but then I had to sit there with him four feet away while the doctor came in to check on me, followed by the school psychiatrist.

Both asked me if I wanted my ‘friend’ to leave the room, and both times, I looked at Pete and shrugged. He’d sat with me all night. He’d fulfilled the dream. And now he was there to sit through the nightmare.

“So let’s talk about alcohol education, Mr. Crowley,” the psychiatrist said once I’d been examined, my IV had been pulled, and I’d been discharged from the medical portion of my alcoholic morning. This was the part I’d dreaded about coming to the health center, and had somehow avoided doing so since my first year experience after the Fancy Ball fiasco.

“How often would you say you drink in a week?”

“How many days?” I asked. “Um, I’d say four or five.”

Pete shot me a look.

“And in a night that you’re drinking, how many hours would you be drinking for?”

I did a quick calculation. There was no reason to lie. Pre-game to pass out, there was no reason to lie.

“Maybe six,” I answered with hardly any conviction.

“Let’s say six to eight hours of drinking,” the doctor replied without looking up from her clipboard. She scribbled something down. “And in an hour, including drinking games, how many drinks per hour? Remember a five ounce shot counts as a drink.”

“Um,” I hesitated. This was the answer that got everyone in trouble, and I knew there was no way of backing out of it. I’d spent the night in the health center. I may as well be honest and take the punishment that was fated for me. “Um… including shots and drinking games, I’d say four or five drinks per hour. Some hours much less, trust me.”

The doctor nodded. I made eye contact with Pete and felt a rush of shame fall over me. Not only was I going through all of this, but he was also sitting there as a part of it. His patterns weren’t much different. He was British. He’d studied in France and Germany and the States. He woke up to a cup of Pimms on any given day. But I was the one in the hospital bed, so I was the one ashamed.

“So here’s what we have, Mr. Crowley. You are what we would classify as a binge drinker. Why is that dangerous? For one, nights like last night. One more beer or shot and you’d have been rushed to Lexington General to have your stomach pumped. Your body is rejecting alcohol at the point you reached last night. Any time you throw up from drinking or have portions of your night blacked out from memory, it’s your body telling you that your binge drinking is out of control.”

I listened to what the doctor had to say intently. I wanted to roll my eyes, but I knew from experience that paying attention and affirming everything they said was the only way out of a mess like this.

“Yes, doctor,” I replied.

“Now what I would love is to bring your drinking down from the binging level to the responsible level. I’m not going to sit here and tell a junior in a fraternity, especially on this campus, to cut out alcohol cold turkey. But what I will ask is for you to follow these guidelines, and as you do really pay attention to your relationship with alcohol.”

I nodded.

“I would suggest you cut down your drinking to two nights a week. On the other nights, volunteer to be a sober brother or a designated driver. Something that keeps you around the party but gives you an incentive to refrain from partaking. Will power is a muscle, and I would like you to strengthen yours. If that is too difficult for you, and you can’t remain sober on those nights, we can discuss some alternatives.”

I knew what the alternatives were. I nodded at the doctor. She continued to take notes and dole out my new routine.

“Two nights a week, that’s all I’m asking. Be disciplined here. My advice is to try and spread them out. Saturday and Wednesday work well for most people. Maybe Monday Night Football and then nothing until the following Friday. Something like that.”

I knew guys and girls who were on this kind of plan. Some took it seriously, and others not so much. I nodded along and she continued. Pete, for his part, sat intently in the corner as if he were determined to help me stick to this new drinking pattern.

“When you do drink, on those two nights per week, I advise that you stick to a pattern of no more than two drinks per hour and a maximum of four hours of drinking. Eight drinks total in a night. No more, Mr. Crowley.”

I swallowed. This was the tough part, I knew.

“No drinking games. You can lose track of how much you’ve had even in the course of one or two games of beer pong or flip cup. Again, no drinking games. Stick to the standard pour on all beverages. 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, whether in a shot or in a mixed drink. No more than five ounces of wine, Mr. Crowley. One beer is one drink in the standard proofing. Don’t try to beat the system by thinking you’ll have eight 4 Loko and get wasted. This is about learning to control your habits, curb your impulses, and understand the relationship you have with alcohol right now.”

I took a deep breath.

“I can do that,” I replied, crossing my arms across my chest. The doctor was right in wanting me to do better, and in truth, it was time to slow things down. It was a natural progression as the year went on that the second semester of the year was more tame, but it was also pledgeship, so while there wouldn’t be as many opportunities to binge drink, there would still be an abundance of temptation.

“I hope you can,” she replied. “Have you found that your relationships with friends and loved ones suffer when you overdo it with alcohol?”

I shot a look at Pete. He lowered his head to avoid eye contact with me.

“You don’t have to answer if you don’t… it’s part of the questionnaire.”

“I would say that my decision making can sometimes be compromised. And that I can become aggressive and demanding of those that I care about,” I said. My voice was measured. Low, but strong. I spoke to the doctor, but my eyes peeled slightly towards Pete. “I’m not my best self when I’m drunk, I know that.”

I blinked, and looked back at the doctor.

“And knowing that, I’d like for you to come up with some goals for the next eight weeks. What does your best self look like? What version of yourself, without alcohol, do you want to be on a consistent basis?”

It didn’t matter how many times I rolled my eyes at the shrink, she was right. The culture at OD, especially for those involved in Greek life, was one of alcoholic excess, and no matter how I sliced it, I was deeply involved and engrained in that culture.

Drinking had led me to some truly awful decisions that I wasn’t confident I would have made had I been of sober mind. I couldn’t go back in time, I thought, as I listened to the doctor finish up her spiel. But I could look to the future and decide what kind of relationship I wanted to have with alcohol, which version of myself I wanted to cultivate as a legacy, and if my actions moving forward would be clearer and more representative of that version of me without a cloud of booze hanging over me.

After signing the paperwork to leave the health center, agreeing to keep an alcohol journal, and signing up for the four hour alcohol education class that met that following Thursday, I shook myself off the hospital bed and followed Pete out of the health center and down the back alley that led from campus back to Chi Beta.

“So I guess I’ll see you around,” I said, hanging my head down, biting my bottom lip and crossing my arms over my torso as I shifted my weight back and forth. I didn’t like the position I was in. I was humiliated by the outcome of my actions. The ball of mine and Pete’s relationship was back in his court, and it humiliated me there was nothing I could do about it but sit and wait.

“Yeah.” I could tell he was trying to be breezy to put me at ease, but his message earlier had been clear. He needed space and time. I was no rocket scientist, but that equation didn’t bode well for the continuum of our relationship. “I, umm, I have the advertising intensive starting with Professor Brown tomorrow, so I’m not sure how busy I’ll be with that and all my other classes. But if I have time, let’s grab a bite some time.”

“Yeah,” I shifted my weight to my other leg. “Let’s do that. I’ll wait for you to-”

“I’ll call you, yeah.”

It was the most awkward way for us to leave things. In a way, everything being laid out on the table didn’t clear the air, I decided as I walked up to my room, each step heavier than the last. In a way, everything being laid out thickened the air between us. Our feelings for each other and the reasons why we couldn’t act on those feelings were placed front and center, and it put that much more pressure on us than had been there when ambiguity was to blame for our inaction.

As it stood, walking away from Pete in the aftermath of Tear Night, I didn’t know where we stood with each other: were we officially torn apart, or could our relationship still evolve into something? Part of me hoped we could find our way together. The kiss from that morning still lingered on my lips and I wanted there to be many more such kisses to come. I knew deep down inside that once we were together, once there was no ‘maybe’ in the equation, once it was Pete plus me, I knew it would equal a great love. I let that kiss linger on my lips, even touching my hands to my face as I took a deep breath, unsure of where to land my thoughts first.

A soft knock on my door took me out of my trance.

“Come in,” I answered, putting the journal down on my desk, and turning to see Hutch there, closing my door behind him as he walked in.

“Hey, bud,” he said softly from across the room. I watched Mister cross over the vast space between the front door to where I stood next to my bed, tickling my legs as she crawled close to me. “How are you feeling?”

“About what, specifically?” I replied, taking a step toward my couch.

“That bad, huh?”

“I sat through a lecture about how much I drink. I sat through a lecture from the guy I’m in love with about how much he hates me for making him fall for me. And I am living in a shame cocoon for getting so drunk I almost died last night. Yeah, it’s that bad.” I took a deep breath. Hutch shrugged.

“So, what do I owe this lovely visit to?” I asked with just a touch of sarcasm.

“I just wanted to check on you. Let you know what you missed in the EC meeting this morning.”

Something felt off about Hutch, but I couldn’t tell what it was. His energy was… off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I took a deep breath and sighed, indicating I didn’t care at all what I’d missed in the officer’s first circle jerk of the new semester, featuring the new brood of freshmen guests.

“You didn’t miss much,” Hutch must have read my disinterest. “The freshmen got all of the rules and procedures about pledgeship,” he replied.

“Same as usual?”

“Study hall for two hours a day-- our class is in charge of coordinating and providing a proctor for them every day. They’ll do it from seven to nine in the library, and we’ll all alternate days. On Sundays, they’ll do study hall hours with their bigs, so David should be up in a few hours. They’re Max’s property from nine to midnight each night, and then PT will be with Todd at six every morning. No contact between midnight and six. That changes hell week, of course.”

There were additional rules they’d have to live by for the next eight weeks that would be punishable during their three hour line up sessions with the pledge master. They weren’t allowed to be seen without their pledge pins on; or on campus without being accompanied by another pledge. They’d have to coordinate schedules to walk each other to classes, work study, and even the dining hall. Study hall was a sacred space and time, and brothers weren’t allowed to contact pledges at all during it. The conventional wisdom was there was no excuse to let your grades slip during pledgeship, regardless of everything else that was going on. Outside of that, the pledges were basically at our beck and call for the foreseeable future.

“Lee was elected their pledge class president,” Hutch continued.

“But we knew that was happening, didn’t we?”

“We did,” he replied. Hutch shifted uncomfortably. “Dominick made a motion that they also get a sergeant-at-arms for their class, another vote for the EC.”

My eyes narrowed. My vote. My idea. I took a deep breath, trying not to show how irritated I was that he’d made the motion for a second freshman vote without me being there. I tried not to show my irritation to my pledge brother as he continued.

“It’ll be Artie, Oliver’s little brother,” Hutch announced matter-of-factly, taking a step forward and crossing his arms.

“Interesting choice.” My voice was flat. Unbelievable, I thought. I’d laid down all of this groundwork and in one fell swoop, I’d lost control over the PCP and I hadn’t gotten who I wanted as my seventh vote on the EC.

In the last 24 hours, things around me had fallen apart so swiftly, I had to steady myself on my desk to stay upright. I’d let things slip. I’d taken my eye off the prize.

I did still have my representation at the Interfraternal Council, but as far as the building blocks I had spent all semester laying here inside the house, those were crumbling apart.

“Alright then,” I took a deep breath. “Is there anything else?”

“No,” Hutch said softly.

“You didn’t come to grill me about what you saw last night?” I licked my bottom lip. “You don’t want to talk about David?”

“No, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay after we left you last night, and I wanted to update you on what you missed from the meeting.”

That was the answer I was waiting for from my pledge brother, and as soon as he confirmed my suspicion, I felt heat rise through my entire body, boiling my blood, and flushing my face. I decided that if my suspicions about Hutch, especially after the last 24 hours, were true, I’d lay a trap and make sure he knew I was on to everything that was going on during his impromptu meeting, under the guise of checking up on me.

“Dom could have updated me about the meeting,” I spat, my annoyance barely bubbling below the surface. I watched Hutch shift uncomfortably.

“Listen, the EC couldn’t wait for you to come out of the health center. I was worried after last night and I wanted to make sure you're okay,” he repeated. “Is that a crime?”

“No,” I narrowed my eyes, trying to read into his defense. Things had changed between Hutch and myself the moment he decided to wheel and deal with Dominick about getting themselves a little. I tried to make a quick judgement on why it was that Hutch was sent up to talk to me after my stint in the health center and not an actual officer. He attended EC meetings by proxy of his assignment as Rush Chairman and nothing more. He didn’t even have a vote on the council, so all of this ‘updating me on the meeting’ felt fishy at best. I decided to try and figure out exactly why Hutch was there, and where he and I stood. And so I decided to push.

“Well, you’ve gotten what you came up here for then. You’re free to report back what you found.”

“It isn’t like that, Corbin.”

“Like what? I didn’t say anything.” I brushed a stray hair away from my face and stood my ground. I could tell Hutch was beginning to read me the same way I’d spent this entire awkward conversation reading him like an old paperback book.

“You know what your problem is?”

“I only have the one?” I replied quickly.

“You think everything is an attack on you.” I shifted my weight, and this time I crossed my arms in a defensive stance. Hutch took a step forward, around my coffee table so only my couch stood between us. “You think I came up here with some kind of hidden agenda. You are paranoid beyond belief, and the more you reach for power, the more paranoid you get.”

“Paranoid?” I asked with a chuckle.

“Yes, paranoid.”

“I didn’t say a word,” I hissed, sticking my neck out towards him with more attitude than I knew I could muster. “And you are showing all of your cards with how guilty you look right now.”

Hutch shifted, ready to reply, but I cut him off before he had the chance.

“How long are you going to pretend you aren’t a player in the game?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. You made a deal with Dominick last night, for what? An endorsement for the presidency? And now look at you.” I chuckled. “But you can’t act like you aren’t playing the political game here anymore, Chad. You want to know why I think you came up here to ‘check on me’ today?” The air quotes were like silent grenades. “You knew I was up here at my most vulnerable, probably lowest moment since you’ve met me. And you couldn’t resist the chance to come up here and gloat that whatever plan I had laid for the freshmen votes had fallen apart. I think you know exactly what you’re doing, and the reason you’re so clumsy about it is because it isn’t you, and you aren’t comfortable with the tough conversations, like this one. But you want to be a part of it so badly and you got a taste of it last night when you walked in on me and David that you just can’t help yourself. And you think you won something this morning because I was stuck in the health center while you saw all my plans fall apart. But now that you’ve entered the game, now that you’ve had a taste of it, Chad, you feel like you have to play it just like the rest of us. So welcome the game, I hope you have the stomach for it.”

“You are out of your mind,” Hutch tried to retreat, but I matched his step, circling the couch to face him a foot away.

“Am I? I know people, Chad, so don’t tell me I’m paranoid for no reason. You saw something last night, and normally you and I would discuss what it was that you saw. We would have no problem discussing it. All through rush, when there were issues with Lee, you and I discussed them. And then you went and made a deal with Dominick, and in the entire time you’ve been up here to ‘check’ on me, you and I have been on so many eggshells, I’m worried I might cut my feet and bleed to death.”

“Give me a break,” Hutch said calmly, tilting his head and flipping his overgrown frat flip away from me. His steadiness infuriated me. He wasn’t getting worked up the way Dominick did when I became threatening. He stood his ground, and so I decided to take a step back. If he wasn’t going to raise his voice, I wouldn’t either. I pressed on, my voice and my words measured.

“You don’t want to talk about David because you have me right where you want me, and you don’t want to use your ace before you have to.” I took a step forward. Hutch shifted his weight, crossed his arms and with a single look, begged me to go in on him if I dared. “One day you’ll be in your position of power that you bartered for at my expense, and you’ll want something from me. Or I’ll be the only thing standing in your way from getting something that you want. Some piece of your legacy, or some vision that you have for this house. I will be your hurdle. I will be your roadblock. And you’ll walk in here with the knowledge of David in your pocket and explain how my reputation can’t survive being outed that I hooked up with another freshman for a vote on the EC. You’ll paint me into a corner, and I will relent and get out of your way. I’ll move the hurdle. I will dissolve the roadblock, and you will get what you want.”

I narrowed my eyes, and I inched even closer to my pledge brother. My best friend.

“But you’ll feel that knot in your stomach, Chad,” I said, throwing his god-given name I knew he hated in his face. “The size of a fist, just like it feels right now. You’ll justify your actions because it's for the greater good. I deserve what I get. Your vision. Your legacy. And so you’ll forget about the knot in your stomach. Only the more you play the game, the more conversations like this that you have, the smaller that knot becomes until you’ll have no problem walking in here to remove the hurdles and roadblocks. Until you start trading knowledge like currency to buy the things you want. Until you start calling me paranoid and out of my mind, but really you’re staring at a reflection of yourself. I know people, Chad, because I know exactly what I would do in your shoes after the last twenty-four hours. So congratulations, you’re in the game now. Welcome to it.”

My words cut through the air that separated us. It felt strange addressing my pledge brother with the same tone and vitriol I had normally saved for Dominick up until that point. But he needed to hear it to see the path he was going down.

“You are ridiculous and you are paranoid, and I don’t know what happened in your brain when you hit your head on that grill, but I will take this conversation as some post-concussion delusion of yours.”

We made eye contact, and I decided at that very moment Hutch wasn’t going to be the same pushover Dominick was. I stared down my pledge brother for what felt like an eternity, refusing to be the one who backed down. The clearer it became that he wouldn’t retreat either, I decided to cut my losses from that entire morning and cut the tension.

“Fine,” I replied nonchalantly, and turned, circled the couch and walked back towards my desk.

“Listen, when I’m president, I want to harness the power you have on this campus. I want to work together and build something here, not stifle you-”

“If,” I cut him off mid-speech as he followed me around the couch to where I stood, my back to him, flipping through the journal I’d just received from the health center.

“Excuse me?”

“I said ‘if you become president’.”

“And what do you mean by that?”

“Exactly what I just said.” I turned. This time it was I who stood my ground while Hutch shifted backwards.

“You’re unbelievable.”

I cocked my neck and shrugged my right shoulder. I could physically feel the tension between Hutch and I reaching a fever pitch. The tension was there because he’d gone behind my back to make deals with Dominick and, therefore, crossed a line and revealed where he stood. The tension was there because he’d put it there. This was the price of admission to the game, I told myself. I turned my back again, this time retrieving my laptop and having a seat on my bed. I lifted my voice to be as light as possible as Hutch stood there watching just how ‘unbelievable’ I could be.

“If you’ll excuse me, I’ve had a tough morning. And David will be here soon. He and I have a lot of things to discuss. Evidently.” I looked up from my computer at Hutch. He didn’t say anything, but I could tell the way he looked at me had changed. It was like he’d seen a ghost. His face was flush, and I could tell that his intention of coming up here to show me he had the upper hand had turned into something different entirely.

He shook his head, coming back down, and looking at me like a brother, not through me like someone he hardly recognized. I thought it was over, and yet there he still stood after I’d dismissed him.

“You don’t scare me Corbin,” he finally replied.

That is a mistake,” I said quickly, cutting my eyes at him once and for all. That was it. That was the line. I was on one side, wounded but not defeated. Hutch was on the other side, for now on the higher ground with Dom and the seniors. “It’s a big mistake.”

Hutch finally retreated, gathering himself and turning to leave my room.

“Welcome to the game,” I quipped as he made his way to the door and turned the knob to leave. I finally took a deep breath as he walked out and shut my door with a loud thud behind him. I had never imagined I’d go after a pledge brother in that way, but he’d given me no choice. In siding with Dom, in pulling Lee away from my orbit, and in stealing the vote I had created for myself, he had left me with no choice.

The difference was, I looked forward to sparring with Hutch. I knew he’d be a more formidable force than Dominick. And I knew my affection towards him as a pledge brother and best friend would add that much more personal baggage to any disagreements we would have. But I also knew he would make me sharper, and vice versa. I knew we would argue and fight, and I anticipated our take-downs would be ten times bigger than any fight I’d had with Dom. But I looked forward to it because I respected Hutch, and I knew he would push me, but we’d bring out the best in each other. And in some ways, because we knew each other, because we knew how to get under each other’s skin, what buttons to push, I knew that we’d also bring out the worst.

I sat on my bed, ran my fingers through my hair, and tried to parse through everything that had happened in the last 24 hours. Part of it felt overwhelming: getting caught with David, finally having the conversation that needed to be had with Pete, losing the standing I’d spent all semester building in the political sphere, my dignity falling off that porch with me to an all time low.

I didn’t know where to pick up the pieces, so instead, I napped. Mister curled up next to me as I pulled my hair back, laid down on my pillow, and forced my mind to think about nothing.

I didn’t think about whether or not Pete would call. I didn’t think about what I would do while I waited for him. If I would wait for him. I didn’t think a guy would come and derail my emotional connection to Pete. I did, however, wonder if I could control my sexual urges enough to wait for him. Did I want to? Did he deserve me to? I didn’t think about all of those things, while allowing them to consume the background of my mind anyway.

I didn’t think about Hutch and the knowledge that he had over me now. I didn’t think about how he’d made a deal with Dominick and the seniors at my expense. I didn’t think about how they now had control of the entire EC and I’d have to start from scratch. I didn’t think about how I’d traded it all in for representation on the IFC, a bigger stage, but what would I do with it? I didn’t think about that just yet. And I forced myself not to think about mine and Hutch’s new relationship-- what this meant for us as brothers-- and ultimately what it meant for us as best friends.

Lastly, I didn’t think about David, who had gotten caught in the middle of all of this. He hadn’t asked to be a pawn. He had simply wanted somewhere to go, belong, and he knew better than to hitch his ride to the senior’s marijuana filled wagon, so he hitched it to mine instead. I knew David was observant, but I forced myself not to think about just how observant he was. Did he understand the dynamics and picked me anyway? Did he want to be a foil to Lee, who was somehow playing both sides of the fence? Or did he truly want to kick back and let things happen around him? Surely he knew being my little involved slightly more than that, but I wondered if he understood what he’d gotten into. Or if he understood all too well and also wanted to enter the fray.

I didn’t think about those things for a couple of hours until I heard a soft knock on the door. I stretched, yawned, and got up to open the door as Mister scurried over to my desk and set up shop on top of my computer.

“Hey,” David came in after I opened the door and greeted him. He had his backpack flung over his shoulder and was dressed simply in light jeans, a blue polo, and a grey Patagonia-- a departure from the sea of NorthFace jackets that dotted our campus. I also noticed as he took off his jacket that his pledge pin was attached to his polo collar.

“Hey there, pledge,” I observed, walking over to my couch and stretching out on one side, leaving room for the tall and lithe David to sprawl on the other. Naturally, our legs crossed. There was no way to avoid it.

“Hey big,” he responded with a smile. “I enjoy saying that to you.”

“You could have been saying it to anyone,” I replied with a smirk. “One of the seniors who smoked you up all semester.”

“I enjoy saying it to you,” he smiled again, instantly melting away everything that had been clouding my brain, but replacing it with a different kind of fog. A fog I didn’t have the energy to fight, but that I knew wasn’t right.

“How was your meeting this morning?”

“Pretty good,” David stretched, somehow inching closer to me when his arms returned to the side of his body. “It was all rules and regulations. I have to wear a collared shirt at all times for this little baby.” He pointed at his pledge pin. “No walking around campus alone without a pledge brother. We spent a solid 45 minutes after the officers left mapping out how we’d get to class, work study, and practices with the buddy system.”

It was a fun rule, and one that forced bonding between pledges. It was tougher than it sounded to make sure you always had someone to accompany you. And if someone was late for a pick up or drop off, it could derail your entire day. It forced cooperation, and fast, and to this day, you’d find squads of Chi Betas still waiting on each other to walk the campus together.

“We picked officers for our class. Lee, obviously, for president.”

“Obviously.”

“I didn’t know we got a sergeant-at-arms,” David added.

“It was a new-ish development,” I sighed. David read my disappointment before I had the chance to hide it.

“Did you have anything to do with it? Getting us another vote?”

“I wanted to ensure you guys were adequately represented. Every other class has at least two people voting, why shouldn't you?”

“Did you want me to be the sergeant-at-arms? Is that why you picked me as your little? So you’d have my vote and Lee’s?”

I took a deep breath and wondered how honest I should be with David. He wasn’t stupid. He was in tune with what was going on, and he wasn’t afraid to come right out and say it. He wasn’t the kind who was going to live comfortably in the ambiguity, and so lying to him felt futile. I knew I’d built devotion from David in a short amount of time, but I still didn’t know what he and I were going to do with it.

“I didn’t have a plan, really, David,” I replied. “It would have been nice to have someone else on the EC I could trust, but, I didn’t have an actual plan.”

David paused, looked at me, and stretched again. It was amusing he thought he had to go through these motions, but at the same time I must not have been giving off the same sexual energy I had in our past encounters together. I wasn’t in that headspace, and it was clear he was trying to get me to think that way by slowly bringing our bodies together without being overly eager or obvious. I decided to hold my ground. I didn’t encourage him coming any closer, but I certainly didn’t move away or tense up my body in any way.

“I feel like a guy like you always has a plan,” David said, his voice lowering. He rested his hand on my thigh. “And a back up plan.”

I first looked at his hand on my thigh, and then raised my head to make eye contact. There were layers upon layers of subtext, not only in his words, but in his voice. David took my eye contact as a sign of consent and lowered his face to the nook of my neck. I didn’t stop him, but again, I didn’t encourage him. I sat there next to him and let his tongue find that sweet spot just below my ear.

His hand slowly inched up my thigh, stopping just short of where my zipper began. I hadn’t gotten hard, yet my body couldn’t help but react to his touch. I suddenly took in a deep breath, aware of what was happening, and everything that had happened in the full 24 hours leading up to that moment.

Pete flashed before my eyes. This wasn’t waiting for him. This wasn’t showing him the devotion he’d been seeking or an entire semester in trying to gauge my level of interest. This wasn’t assuring him I’d be there if he decided to take the step out of the closet and be with me. Really with me. This was none of those things.

This was animal instinct. Pure lust for someone who I found unbelievably attractive, and whose devotion to me manifested itself in a way that our bodies begged to connect with each other. This was a spell I couldn’t escape. I wanted to, pushing the image of Pete out of my mind. But I couldn’t. I tensed up ever so slightly.

And then he said it.

“You don’t have to sleep with me if you don’t want to,” he whispered. His breath against my neck caused an involuntary reaction. I caught my breath with a start and instinctively rolled my neck back before catching myself, opening my eyes, and looking deep into the brown abyss of David’s.

“Huh?” I asked, unsure why he’d stopped and retreated. What was this kid’s game? I wondered.

“You don’t have to sleep with me if you don’t want to,” he repeated. “I’ll still be here for you. I’ll still do what you want me to. I’ll still go up against the seniors with you, and bat to my class for you.”

“What makes you think I don’t want to sleep with you?” I asked. I realize now, looking back, with that one question, I fell into the trap David had set for me. I could tell even then he was smarter than he let on, but I didn’t realize just how strung along I was by him.

“You just don’t seem like you’re into me touching you,” he replied, this time moving his hand directly over the fold of my pants and squeezing my semi-hard cock. “Last night you seemed way more into it. Today, you’re thinking. I can hear you thinking, Corbin. What are you thinking about?”

He asked the questions in rapid succession, not giving me a chance to gather my thoughts enough to respond. The kid was good, I thought before taking a second and answering him.

“David, I don’t not want to do this with you,” I shifted my body towards him. We were still on the couch, but with his hand on my crotch, and my knee up on the cushion, our chests were now squared, inches apart. I spoke directly into his mouth, which was just a few inches from mine. Our eyes were locked, and I knew that in proving my interest to combat what he’d just said, I was making the moment much more erotic than I’d intended.

“Listen,” I breathed, moving my hand up to his chest. He didn’t move, but I could feel his heart on my palm. “I respect you. I see you, and you remind me of myself at your age. It took me a while to find my place here, and I feel like you’re finally settling into yours. You aren’t flashy like the Lees of this place. You don’t try too hard; you don’t stand out for the obvious reasons; you aren’t entitled. But I see you, and I respect you. If I didn’t, I would have jumped your bones ages ago, and left you…in…in the wake.”

David took a deep breath. I watched his eyes read my face and settle on my lips. I knew he wanted to go in for a kiss, but I wasn’t ready for that. So I kept whispering to him.

“You’re smarter than you let on, David,” I whispered. “I haven’t figured out why, but it intrigues me. I was that way too. Unpredictable. Observant. Smarter than the loud guys in the room. Able to see what they wanted, but able to pick and choose for myself. You’re like that too.”

“You think so? You think I’m all of those things?” he asked, again turning my words to his advantage and encouraging me to continue. I did continue. I gave him what he wanted.

“I do, David.”

“And you think I’ll be like you one day?”

I paused for a second, trying to catch up to where David was in his thought process. He knew how to get these affirmations out of me. And in a way, I understood that challenging my attraction to him would have made me defensively come on to him. It was a simple play, an amateur move that I was falling for, but in responding to him, in affirming him, I wasn’t lying. I was building him up, sure. But nothing I’d said so far was untrue. He had laid the trap, and I’d walked right into it, but I was being earnest, and that was the major part for me. So I continued.

“When you found out Lee only slept with me for a bid, you came and you told me, didn’t you? You barely knew me, he was your friend, and yet you told me anyway,” I replied. David nodded, and again his gaze fell onto my lips. “And look where you are now, and look where he is. That’s chess, David. While Lee was playing checkers.”

“If that’s how you feel, then why did you tense up when I touched you?” Again, David squeezed me through my pants, and this time I let myself react. I felt the fabric of my jeans tighten, and watched David’s face loosen just a bit. “There’s a difference between respecting me and not being attracted to me. Leading me on until I picked you and then not wanting to do anything with me.”

I read his eyes and decided I didn’t want to hurt this kid. He was too pure, too good. Too much like myself. It would hurt him if I rejected him. He would pretend like it wouldn’t, but it would. Seeing him open up and be that vulnerable transported me back to when I was 18 and what I would have felt for someone like myself. I couldn’t hurt this one, I thought. And so I was honest.

“Is that what you think?” I leaned back a bit, giving us some separation. “David. I’m incredibly attracted to you. Look at yourself. You’re the hottest freshman in your class.”

I let my hand wander down his chest.

“And like I said, if I didn’t respect you as an equal, I would have jumped at the chance to do all kinds of things with you. But if I had, if we had done those things, we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation like this right now. You wouldn’t be trying to read my plans for this house, or wanting to be a part of the bigger picture. Trust me, I am so attracted to you, sometimes I can’t stand it. But it goes beyond that.”

He swallowed. I knew I had to put my money where my mouth was, so I leaned forward and kissed him. I conveyed so much in that kiss, and as my tongue slid into his mouth, I reassured him that I didn’t just flirt with him to get him on my side as a foil to Lee. I assured him as I ran my hand up the back of his neck and through his hair, pulling his face into mine, that I wasn’t just using him for the power or the influence. I was attracted to him. I lifted my entire body up onto the couch on my knees and ground our bodies together. I reminded him, grinding my body into his that he was desirable. Desired. That I desired him against my better judgement.

I fulfilled the promise I’d made during rush week, pushing him back onto the couch, climbing on top of his body, grinding our full, hard dicks together, and assuring him with my entire body that we could connect physically as well as emotionally.

And then I caught myself. As much as I tried to make that moment about David, I couldn’t ignore the conversation I’d had with Pete earlier that day. He hadn’t asked me to wait for him, but in all that he’d expressed, this definitely wasn’t what he’d wanted from me.

I was stuck between a rock and David’s hard place. I wanted him physically. The kid was smoking hot, and he was hot for me. I was turned on by the touch of his hand, the taste of his mouth, the intensity in which he held my gaze. I was even more turned on by his turn of phrase and wisdom beyond his years. I wanted to rip his clothes off right then, but I couldn’t. There was a Pete shaped elephant in the room.

And so I tensed up again. This time, I retreated and sat back up on the couch. I heard David sigh as I broke our kiss.

“David, can I ask you something?” he sat up, panted, and looked at me from across the couch. “If I asked you to wait, would you? If I asked you to give me some time and clear something out of my head, what would you say?”

He didn’t respond right away. He took a moment and thought about his answer.

“I would ask you if it’s anything I can help you with,” he replied.

“What if I said it wasn’t?”

“I already told you you don’t have to sleep with me,” he shifted.

“I know, and like I said, I want to so badly,” I replied. “But there’s this obstacle…I don’t want to hurt you and I don’t want to lie to you. Like I said, I respect you, and if I didn’t I would fuck you right now and not think twice about hurting you.”

And then David said something that I’ll never forget. It was a phrase I had used before, and as he said it, it was like looking in the mirror.

“Why don’t you tell me what this obstacle is, and then let me decide if it will hurt me or not. I can protect my own heart, Corbin.”

I sighed. It was a line out of my own playbook, and hearing him say it made me want him even more.

“There’s a guy,” I began. “And he’s sorting himself out, and there’s a chance, even a small one, that he’ll figure himself out and that he’ll want a relationship with me. And if that happens, David…”

He didn’t even let me finish the sentence. Before I had the chance to say the words out loud, David pounced on me, this time knocking me back onto the couch while he dove his entire body into me. He planted his tongue so far down my throat, I had to use both hands on his face to steady myself.

He pulled back after pinning me back, our faces a centimeter apart.

“I don’t give a fuck about some other guy. Let me protect my heart if he does come back to you, we’ll deal with it then.” He kissed me again, grinding into me again, forcing me to feel the entire length of his body, his abs and torso, his impossibly hard cock against mine.

He stopped again. This time I followed his face up from mine as he pulled away, not wanting to let him go.

“But Corbin, this guy isn’t here right now. And that’s his problem.” David smiled down at me. He was right. I cut through the feeling that I was waiting for Pete to pick me. There was an impossibly hot freshman in my room in that moment who had already picked me. If I’m honest with myself, looking up at David with eagerness in his eyes, I didn’t want Pete to pick me. Not yet. Not until I’d had a chance to experience David.

And putting it all on the table, both of us aware things could change, and David was willing to take the risk, made what we did next all the more freeing to me, as it absolved me of all guilt and apprehension.

“Take off your clothes,” I whispered to David. He smirked down at me, lifted his polo over his head, and revealed the gorgeous six pack of a young athlete in his physical prime. I ran my hand down his chest and to the button of his pants. “All of them.”

David stood up from the couch. I watched in awe as he lowered his pants, revealing a treasure trail that led down to the dick I’d drunkenly fumbled with the night before. Here and now, sober and mesmerized, I was able to appreciate David’s physique.

“Come here,” I whispered, sitting up. David took the two steps towards me, put his right leg on the couch beside me, and presented himself. I looked up at him and took his dick in my hands.

“Don’t ever ask me if I’m attracted to you again, okay?” he nodded. And with that, I pulled into him, opened my mouth wide, and swallowed every inch of his rock hard cock to the back of my throat.

I could tell he’d been gearing up for something he was finally getting. After all of the buildup and interruptions and close calls, this was what David had been waiting for. I loosened my throat and allowed him to pull my head as deep onto his dick as it would go. I let out a moan as his head tickled the back of my throat, and with that David released all of the pent up flirtation into a guttural moan that I could feel throughout his entire gorgeous body.

It would have been disingenuous to say I didn’t love giving David head as much as he loved pulling my head down onto him. His dick was perfect. His body was incredible. His precum tasted sweet, and his reactions to my tongue running down the length of his shaft was all the encouragement I needed.

There was a push and pull with David. Sometimes he was dominant towards me, moving my body around at his whim, effortlessly. There were times he stood back and let me take the lead. I was direct with him, forceful, but respectful. I dug my fingers into his skin, feeling his abs and his hard thighs. I allowed him to pull my head back and forth, controlling the pace he loved best.

I sat there with his dick in my mouth for a couple minutes, not coming up for air, but instead reassuring him, servicing him, giving to another guy for once. It was a mutual transaction, and for me, that’s what made sucking David’s dick that evening so special.

He finally pulled my head off his cock, and with this flexible and agile body, bent down to give me a big swirling kiss, tasting himself in my mouth. He lifted me up effortlessly by the arms so that we stood facing each other. Wasting no time, David lifted my shirt up over my head as I fumbled with the button on my jeans. I kicked my pants off, and once we were both standing naked before each other, David took my head in both of his hands, pulled me up to his lips, and kissed me so deep, I felt my soul almost escape my body.

I didn’t have time to feel self-conscious in front of David and his perfect 6’4” body. I normally would have, hooking up with someone in clearly better shape than I was, but David somehow made me feel comfortable and safe. Maybe it was his soft hands directing me, feeling every inch of me. Maybe it was the way he was so clearly turned on by me as well. Maybe it was the way we’d formed a mutual respect for each other. Maybe it was that getting to know David almost felt like I was hooking up with a version of myself.

He broke our kiss and turned me around so that both my knees were on the couch cushions and my head and chest were pressed over the back of the sofa, facing the back wall of my room. I felt David’s hands press against my back and inch their way down until he grabbed my ass firmly. He knelt down and in a second of pure pleasure, David spread my ass apart, licked my hole tentatively, and then dove into my ass with his warm thick tongue.

I arched my back, let out a deep moan and in that second let myself go completely. There was no Pete. There was no waiting. There was only the pleasure of two young guys, horned up beyond belief, giving into their mutual attraction.

David ate out my ass like it was a melting ice cream cone and he had to savor every last lick for dear life. It was a sensation I hadn’t felt in so long. He did it like a pro, like someone who’d either been a top for a long time, or who’d watched a ton of gay porn. He had perfected the method of pushing his tongue as deep into me as it would go, pulling back, flicking around for a second, and then diving right back in. He brought me to the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I needed something more substantial inside of me.

Sensing my urgency, David stuck a finger into my ass. Again, I squirmed like a schoolgirl, let out a deep moan, and let him do his thing.

“Fuck yeah,” I sighed from the pit of my stomach. He moaned into my ass at my reaction. We were in perfect sync, perfect harmony. He found a way to use his tongue and his finger to stretch me out simultaneously, and the sensation was beyond belief.

Again after a minute or two, I was ready for more. I squirmed around and used my hand to pull David’s head into me deeper, indicating that I was ready for him to finish up with his tongue and give me the real thing.

“David,” I whispered between pants. His head shot up from behind me. He was tall enough that when he extended his back, even with me kneeling on the couch, we were almost the same height.

“Huh?” he pulled up and made eye contact with me. “Are you okay?”

“Better than okay,” I smiled. “David, there’s condoms in the bottom drawer of my desk. And lube.”

David smiled something wicked. It was the first time I saw the innocence escape his face, replaced by pure lust. I don’t know if he was expecting to fuck that night or not, but he shot up off the ground, bound to my desk, fished around, and returned with a condom and a pack of lube courtesy of the complementary bowl at the health center.

“Have you done this before?” I asked, still in position to get taken from behind. David fumbled with the gold condom wrapper, using his teeth to peel a corner open.

“Um, yeah,” he replied tentatively. “A couple of times.”

I didn’t know if I believed him, but either way we were bound to find out.

“Okay, just go slow at first, yeah?”

“Yeah, okay. Slow…” he rolled the rubber onto his impossibly hard shaft. He opened the lube the same way and squirted it onto his fingers and then his dick. He used two fingers to put the cold liquid onto my ass as well. I arched forward, indicating that I was more than ready for him.

“Okay. Slow,” he repeated as he grabbed me by the hips and squared our bodies together. I clutched the back of the couch, took a deep breath, and felt every inch of David slowly enter me, loosening me up ever so slowly as he pushed forward.

“You okay?” I didn’t reply. I simply grunted, clawed at the couch, and bit down on the back end of the material.

I let out a gasp as David bottomed out inside of me. His dick wasn’t huge, but somehow it felt bigger than what I had remembered sucking. Maybe because it had been a while since I’d been fucked, or maybe it was proportionate to his physique that made it not seem so big in sight. But I surely felt how big it was that night, bent over, as David slowly started pumping in and out of me.

He gained confidence as he gained speed, and I encouraged every thrust with a low moan. Once he’d worked up a moderate pace, I reached behind me, grabbed his thigh, and forced him to thrust into me even deeper.

“You can’t hurt me, David,” I panted, encouraging him to take on more of a powerful role. “Come on and fuck me.”

I panted. David took this as his cue. He grabbed my hair, pulled my head back, forcing me to arch my back even more. That is when David Marcossi went to town. With this hand entangled in my hair, and his body slamming against me, I felt his dick slide past my prostate repeatedly. I let out a huge moan.

“Fuck yeah!” I almost screamed into the couch cushion. He’d found the spot, and he wasn’t going to stop pounding it until I reached the edge.

That didn’t take long. David fucked me in that position for a minute, as my cock ground against the couch cushions. Then, sensing that I must have been getting close, David released my head, pulled me up by my chest, and effortlessly contorted his body so that we could make out as he fucked me. I couldn’t respond with anything other than the guttural grunts that involuntarily escaped me.

This kid had sold himself short. He hadn’t done this once or twice. He was a fucking pro. A stud. An unbelievable ball of sexual energy that kept pounding my g-spot, kissing my neck, sucking my tongue into his mouth, and jacking off my cock at the same time.

“Oh fuck,” I shouted. I couldn’t take it anymore. With only a second’s warning, my body tensed up. I reached behind me with both hands and forced David’s pelvis into me. He stayed there, deep inside of me, his cock pulsing against my prostate. I let out a huge moan, and a second later, sent cum flying from my cock and into every crevice of my couch. My body writhed against David, but in that orgasm, he never let go of me. Once he finished pumping the cum from my dick, he wrapped his arms so tightly around my chest and licked the side of my face like he was marking me as his territory. It was insanely hot in the afterglow as my heart rate came down and my breathing evened out.

“I want to cum on you,” David whispered. I was still in the heat of the moment enough to grant his wish. I pulled away from him. He took off the condom and threw it on the coffee table as I turned around and laid on the wet cushions of the couch. David stood over me, pumped his dick maybe three times before releasing the biggest and most forceful stream of cum right onto my chest, neck, and face.

In a way it was hot to watch David writhe above me and spend every ounce of himself onto me. My sex had done that to him. And letting him fulfill this fantasy felt like an act of service that I knew someone like David would remember, and appreciate, for a very long time.

He came for what felt like a full minute before he collapsed on top of me. Our collective sweat and semen rubbed against both of our chests as David kissed me deep as he was brought back down to earth.

“Wow,” he spasmed. His body felt warm next to me, but the cum on me began to cool and after a minute, I needed to get up and get cleaned off.

“That was incredible,” I moaned, pushing him off me and sitting up.

“Beyond incredible, Corbin. Beyond what I imagined, even hearing about it from-”

I turned my head to face him. He didn’t finish what he was saying, but instead looked at me like a kid who’d touched a hot plate after being warned. I softened my face. I knew they had discussed me before. I knew he had an idea of what he was getting himself into. I just didn’t want or expect to hear about it. I tapped his face with my sticky hand.

“It’s cool,” I said, standing up and grabbing a towel. “Just probably not the best thing to mention after you have sex with someone-- the person who referred you to them.”

I walked wrapped myself in my towel, grabbed my dopp kit and walked to the bathroom. As the warm water showered over me, I thought about a few things. The guy who hadn’t asked me to wait for him that morning, the guy who had just given me the best sex I’d had in months, and the guy who was once my best friend and had turned adversary. All of these things had happened in a few short hours, and as I washed David’s cum out of my hair, I couldn’t help but wonder what the second half of this already complicated year could bring.

As always, thanks so much for following the story. I hope you all continue to enjoy the journey. I look forward to and welcome all of your comments and questions. This was turning point chapter, and hopefully sets up the next semester. Can't wait to hear from you!

Copyright © 2016 Jwolf; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



I am so happy someone finally confronted Corbin with his irresponsible drinking. I think the first comment I made on this story was a lengthy rant on this topic. :*) 

And not even a near-death experience and concussion will stop Corbin from getting laid. :facepalm:

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34 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

I am so happy someone finally confronted Corbin with his irresponsible drinking. I think the first comment I made on this story was a lengthy rant on this topic. :*) 

And not even a near-death experience and concussion will stop Corbin from getting laid. :facepalm:

You thought a near death experience would keep Corbin from getting laid? Get real. Thanks for the review!

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5 hours ago, Jwolf said:

You thought a near death experience would keep Corbin from getting laid? Get real. Thanks for the review!

I thought he might have used it as an excuse to hold David off. And it's called a (chapter) comment now. Reviews are for complete stories.

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7 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

I thought he might have used it as an excuse to hold David off. And it's called a (chapter) comment now. Reviews are for complete stories.

Forgive... thanks for the chapter comment. I think one thing with his hookup with David, is that it was more than Corbin simply using sex to manipulate him. I wanted to show he genuinely does respect and is insanely attracted to David. With that, an almost concussion isn't going to ward him off. Not our horned up guy. lol

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Always a pleasure to see you’ve uploaded a chapter. This is a reaction to both previous chapters. So... Pete, Hutch and David.

I’d been wondering what was holding the Brit back for 35 chapters so I’m glad to finally see him express his feelings. I guess I get it to some extent, Corbin seems like a tiresome person to have feelings for. Though his social standing is second to none, he’s also a (social) control freak and I guess having him as your bridge to a campus you don’t know can be a little frustrating. That being said if Pete still loves him in spite of that, I do think he’s being a little capricious, not to mention he’s a bit on the jealous side and all this “space / time apart” is going to do is allow Corbin to rack up more sex partners.

 

Eager to see what Hutch does, even though he’s right in saying that Corbin is paranoid. Making one play does not make you a player in the game. Corbin has to a large extent manufactured this enmity with his best friend, in part because he refused to yield on one simple request and had to think of what was in it for him... I’d wager they’ll be alright though.

 

As for David, that was hot as hell. Great job getting his hotness across, and props to him for eliciting a little, dare I say it, insecurity in Corbin. Only Pete, and I guess for a while the Vmee, had managed to do that until now.

 

keep it up...

 

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45 minutes ago, Toxmax said:

Always a pleasure to see you’ve uploaded a chapter. This is a reaction to both previous chapters. So... Pete, Hutch and David.

I’d been wondering what was holding the Brit back for 35 chapters so I’m glad to finally see him express his feelings. I guess I get it to some extent, Corbin seems like a tiresome person to have feelings for. Though his social standing is second to none, he’s also a (social) control freak and I guess having him as your bridge to a campus you don’t know can be a little frustrating. That being said if Pete still loves him in spite of that, I do think he’s being a little capricious, not to mention he’s a bit on the jealous side and all this “space / time apart” is going to do is allow Corbin to rack up more sex partners.

 

Eager to see what Hutch does, even though he’s right in saying that Corbin is paranoid. Making one play does not make you a player in the game. Corbin has to a large extent manufactured this enmity with his best friend, in part because he refused to yield on one simple request and had to think of what was in it for him... I’d wager they’ll be alright though.

 

As for David, that was hot as hell. Great job getting his hotness across, and props to him for eliciting a little, dare I say it, insecurity in Corbin. Only Pete, and I guess for a while the Vmee, had managed to do that until now.

 

keep it up...

 

Thanks for the comment! Super insightful. I think you're spot on about a lot of things. With Pete, I think the main thing Corbin realized in the last chapter is that you can't just will someone to love you just because you love them. They both have flaws, but we've seen that they are both a catch as well. I'm excited to explore where their relationship goes now that most everything is on the table. The Hutch and Corbin thread will be a fun one to balance as well... interesting prediction about their relationship, but all I will say is 'we'll see'. Glad you enjoyed the scene with David. It was... fun... to write. More to come soon. 

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With everything going on in the world I was so happy to see the notification about this chapter. Perfect!

This was a very interesting chapter, I’m having a hard time trying to even guess where the Brit and Corbins relationship is going to go because I feel like they are at such a weird place now one that despite their whole push and pull thing they’ve never been in before. I feel like in the last chapter Pete gave Corbin so much and then  took it all away as quickly as he had given it. I even had whiplash haha. My opinion about that while situation now is that Pete didn’t really give Corbin much to hold on to and for someone like Corbin that is never a good thing. I mean it reminds me a little of the whole Muscle Mike situation and him realizing he couldn’t wait 6 months. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see 

the whole thing with Hutch or Chad as angry Corbin likes to call him is very intriguing. I think that he definitely has an agenda and maybe Corbin may seem paranoid now but he may also be on to something and I’m a bit worried about what this is going to do to their relationship. 

Finally there’s David who I honestly didn’t give too much importance when he first popped up but boy has he become the ultimate dark horse and a incredibly hot one also. I actually like him and Corbin as a team and I’m excited to see how this plays out 

(Still can’t wait for Muscle Mike to be released and for him to come complicate everything for Corbin)

Thanks again for all you work and for sharing your talent with us. 

Edited by jamiedisu
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4 hours ago, jamiedisu said:

With everything going on in the world I was so happy to see the notification about this chapter. Perfect!

This was a very interesting chapter, I’m having a hard time trying to even guess where the Brit and Corbins relationship is going to go because I feel like they are at such a weird place now one that despite their whole push and pull thing they’ve never been in before. I feel like in the last chapter Pete gave Corbin so much and then  took it all away as quickly as he had given it. I even had whiplash haha. My opinion about that while situation now is that Pete didn’t really give Corbin much to hold on to and for someone like Corbin that is never a good thing. I mean it reminds me a little of the whole Muscle Mike situation and him realizing he couldn’t wait 6 months. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see 

the whole thing with Hutch or Chad as angry Corbin likes to call him is very intriguing. I think that he definitely has an agenda and maybe Corbin may seem paranoid now but he may also be on to something and I’m a bit worried about what this is going to do to their relationship. 

Finally there’s David who I honestly didn’t give too much importance when he first popped up but boy has he become the ultimate dark horse. I actually like him and Corbin as a team and I’m excited to see how this plays out 

(Still can’t wait for Muscle Mike to be released and for him to come complicate everything for Corbin)

Thanks again for all you work and for sharing your talent with us. 

Thanks for the comment! I know there's been a lot to unpack in the last few chapters, and in a way the rest of the story moves along a little quicker than the first semester, so expect more wiplash 🙂

I'm excited about where there relationship goes from here because it is the first time we've seen both boys lay all of their cards on the table. How will they respond to that kind of freedom? Who knows. But I will say based on your comment, you do have an instinct on what it means for Corbin... old dog... new tricks? We'll see. More to come from those two, David in the mix, and the Hutch progression has been fun for me to explore as well... funny you bring up Muscle Mike. He's still out there, isn't he?

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5 hours ago, jamiedisu said:

(Still can’t wait for Muscle Mike to be released and for him to come complicate everything for Corbin)

Thanks again for all you work and for sharing your talent with us. 

Me too, I want the Marine back.

1 hour ago, Jwolf said:

funny you bring up Muscle Mike. He's still out there, isn't he?

Yep, and we're waiting for you to let him back into the story. 

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So....while Hutch certainly did partly want to check in on his best friend, I do think it's not just Corbin's paranoia (to be fair, quite a few people are out to get him in one way or another so he has a right to be...?). He did go behind Corbin's back to conspire with Dom but it may not be quite about "betraying" Corbin. Hutch clearly has a certain respect for authority which Corbin doesn't (and honestly, neither do I when it's people my own age haha) and so may feel obligated on some level to help Dom as their frat's president. Plus, that's the office he aims to hold next year so he's invested in maintaining its influence, so he can't be pleased to see Corbin walk all over it - not out of concern for Dom really but that he's all about the system and Corbin's going outside that undermines him, to Hutch's way of thinking.

Corbin has built his sphere of influence outside of the official hierarchy while Hutch seems to be all about going by the book. So while he does consider Corbin his friend, I wouldn't be surprised if Hutch was indeed trying to undercut him a little - likely telling himself it's for Corbin's own good and that of the fraternity.

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17 minutes ago, Israfil said:

So....while Hutch certainly did partly want to check in on his best friend, I do think it's not just Corbin's paranoia (to be fair, quite a few people are out to get him in one way or another so he has a right to be...?). He did go behind Corbin's back to conspire with Dom but it may not be quite about "betraying" Corbin. Hutch clearly has a certain respect for authority which Corbin doesn't (and honestly, neither do I when it's people my own age haha) and so may feel obligated on some level to help Dom as their frat's president. Plus, that's the office he aims to hold next year so he's invested in maintaining its influence, so he can't be pleased to see Corbin walk all over it - not out of concern for Dom really but that he's all about the system and Corbin's going outside that undermines him, to Hutch's way of thinking.

Corbin has built his sphere of influence outside of the official hierarchy while Hutch seems to be all about going by the book. So while he does consider Corbin his friend, I wouldn't be surprised if Hutch was indeed trying to undercut him a little - likely telling himself it's for Corbin's own good and that of the fraternity.

I love your outlook on it, and it will be interesting to see them go toe-to-toe over the next semester and beyond. The one thing Corbin brought up is that he's ahead of Hutch in the gamesmanship of all of this. You're right: Hutch wants to be president and has his ambitions. Corbin plays outside of the bounds of the rules. How will Hutch deal with his friend when he's forced to check him? And how will Corbin react to that?

Not spoiling anything here, but along the lines of the two friends... what could they accomplish if they worked together instead of were at odds like Corbin and Dom? The question is can that happen? Can Corbin LET that happen?

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I feel like you must be the Corbin character, which puts me in a tough spot because I really don't like the Corbin character.  That said, I probably wouldn't like myself much in college if I could look back on it now. lol

At some point Corbin will be right and Hutch will use the Dave hookup against him.  Or maybe Lee will?  Or maybe even Dom if he and Lee bond over their big/little relationship.  So much drama I'm glad my university didn't have fraternities!

I like Dave and he may turn out to be the most loyal character of all.  At least I hope he does.  Not every single person can have multiple agendas, can they?  It would be nice for Corbin to have a low-key fuckbuddy, especially one who is a good lay!  (Very hot scene btw.)

I also noticed Amanda's disappeared.  Corbin has now burned through Amanda, Hutch, the Dean, that entire sorority whose name escapes me, Nick (maybe the worst mistake Corbin has made imo) and others.  That's an awful lot of carnage for Pete's sake. 😁

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2 hours ago, JasperP said:

I feel like you must be the Corbin character, which puts me in a tough spot because I really don't like the Corbin character.  That said, I probably wouldn't like myself much in college if I could look back on it now. lol

At some point Corbin will be right and Hutch will use the Dave hookup against him.  Or maybe Lee will?  Or maybe even Dom if he and Lee bond over their big/little relationship.  So much drama I'm glad my university didn't have fraternities!

I like Dave and he may turn out to be the most loyal character of all.  At least I hope he does.  Not every single person can have multiple agendas, can they?  It would be nice for Corbin to have a low-key fuckbuddy, especially one who is a good lay!  (Very hot scene btw.)

I also noticed Amanda's disappeared.  Corbin has now burned through Amanda, Hutch, the Dean, that entire sorority whose name escapes me, Nick (maybe the worst mistake Corbin has made imo) and others.  That's an awful lot of carnage for Pete's sake. 😁

I think you’re right about Corbin to an extent, but the complexity is in having a protagonist that isn’t always 100 percent likable. Personally, I don’t think people are built that way, and what makes us interesting is our flaws. I’m glad I’m not the same person I was in 2008/2009, but it makes for a compelling story. Besides, I think what keeps Corbin rootable is that even at his worst, he believes in what he’s going after with conviction. That means something,  good or bad in my opinion. Some of the characters in the ‘wake’ come back... I won’t say who. Thanks for the comment. I always appreciate you’re feedback!

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Thanks for another excellent chapter.  I was getting ready to KILL Corbin, if he had somehow convinced himself to use Pete as a reason not to do the deed with David.  Thankfully, it was very gratifying to see Corbin come to his senses just in the nick of time. 

Question: any chance that we (=the readers) will ever be so lucky as to get the back story RE from whom (and when, and where, and how) David learned everything he knows?!  Enquiring minds want to know!

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7 hours ago, mg777 said:

Thanks for another excellent chapter.  I was getting ready to KILL Corbin, if he had somehow convinced himself to use Pete as a reason not to do the deed with David.  Thankfully, it was very gratifying to see Corbin come to his senses just in the nick of time. 

Question: any chance that we (=the readers) will ever be so lucky as to get the back story RE from whom (and when, and where, and how) David learned everything he knows?!  Enquiring minds want to know!

Thanks for the comment! Funny you should ask, I was thinking about a way to work that into their next interaction. Corbin and David spend a lot of time together over this semester so I’d imagine they’ll share past experiences. Thanks again!

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17 hours ago, Jwolf said:

I think you’re right about Corbin to an extent, but the complexity is in having a protagonist that isn’t always 100 percent likable. Personally, I don’t think people are built that way, and what makes us interesting is our flaws. I’m glad I’m not the same person I was in 2008/2009, but it makes for a compelling story. Besides, I think what keeps Corbin rootable is that even at his worst, he believes in what he’s going after with conviction. That means something,  good or bad in my opinion. Some of the characters in the ‘wake’ come back... I won’t say who. Thanks for the comment. I always appreciate you’re feedback!

 

I think that is Corbin's biggest problem actually - that he "believes in what he's going after with conviction."  Even when people point out to him that his behavior isn't good, he is mono-focussed and it seems to often work to his detriment.

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6 minutes ago, JasperP said:

 

I think that is Corbin's biggest problem actually - that he "believes in what he's going after with conviction."  Even when people point out to him that his behavior isn't good, he is mono-focussed and it seems to often work to his detriment.

I don't disagree with you, but Corbin's 'bad behavior' has always served his main goal of ensuring his house is better respected than they currently are. I don't think he and Dom/Hutch are that different or that he's that much worse than they are. I actually think in some ways him knowing that he colors outside of the lines to get what he wants makes his mission that much more compelling (I'm biased, of course. duh). Anyway, I think for any story to be compelling, the hero or anti-hero has to be committed to that mission. It raises the stakes, and I think you're right in that Corbin is at the precipice of the world HE created and now has to deal with the potential fallout of that. 

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23 hours ago, Jwolf said:

it will be interesting to see them go toe-to-toe over the next semester and beyond.

I couldn’t help noticing the word ‘beyond’ here, Jwolf. Are you contemplating carrying this story into Corbin’s senior year, even though the title is The English Year? If you are considering it, maybe it should be a sequel. Unless you are vying for longevity like Dodger’s The Cockney Canuck at 134 chapters to date. Would Pete even be around Corbin’s senior year. I don’t remember if he is a junior or senior this year. Of course, the author can make any thing happen. Right?

Just wondering…

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20 hours ago, Jwolf said:

I’m glad I’m not the same person I was in 2008/2009,

I don’t think you are either, Jwolf. Corbin probably wouldn’t have given a rather lengthy explanation (and apology of sorts) for the long hiatus between the earlier chapters and more recent chapters of the story; whereas, you did, and I appreciated it because The English Year is a truly wonderful story since the first chapter. Thanks for the effort.

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8 minutes ago, Arran said:

I couldn’t help noticing the word ‘beyond’ here, Jwolf. Are you contemplating carrying this story into Corbin’s senior year, even though the title is The English Year? If you are considering it, maybe it should be a sequel. Unless you are vying for longevity like Dodger’s The Cockney Canuck at 134 chapters to date. Would Pete even be around Corbin’s senior year. I don’t remember if he is a junior or senior this year. Of course, the author can make any thing happen. Right?

Just wondering…

I’m not entirely sure if I can answer this question fully without spoiling anything, but I’ll do my best. Right now, my outline goes through Corbin’s senior year and graduation. I think from my college experience that this is all based on, there’s enough in his last year to carry on. Yes, Pete is involved in a lot of that as well, and I guess I can say he doesn’t leave the states right after this academic year is finished. With that being said however, there are enough characters that we’re involved with already that would justify carrying on. About the name, I think when I started writing this, i thought of it as eventually being formatted as a novel-style work, but quickly realized as I posted chapter after chapter there is enough detail in this world to really play into the serialized nature of it. If I were to start from scratch, I’d probably change the name at this point to something more inclusive of Corbin’s overall college experience. If I were to format it as a novel, I’d keep it as The English Year. 

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2 minutes ago, Arran said:

I don’t think you are either, Jwolf. Corbin probably wouldn’t have given a rather lengthy explanation (and apology of sorts) for the long hiatus between the earlier chapters and more recent chapters of the story; whereas, you did, and I appreciated it because The English Year is a truly wonderful story since the first chapter. Thanks for the effort.

I appreciate you saying that. Thanks 😊 

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Right now, I’m more concerned about Corbin’s relationship with Hutch than with Pete. I think he’s beginning to see that he isn’t omnipotent like he thought he was until now. With what is going on with Pete and with Hutch, it is giving him pause to maybe reflect on his his ambitions. Let’s hope that he comes out of it a better man.

I started college in my mid-twenties after a four-year enlistment in the service, so I was more concerned with my education than involvement in a fraternity. I thought it was more a rich kid pastime.

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3 hours ago, Arran said:

Right now, I’m more concerned about Corbin’s relationship with Hutch than with Pete. I think he’s beginning to see that he isn’t omnipotent like he thought he was until now. With what is going on with Pete and with Hutch, it is giving him pause to maybe reflect on his his ambitions. Let’s hope that he comes out of it a better man.

I started college in my mid-twenties after a four-year enlistment in the service, so I was more concerned with my education than involvement in a fraternity. I thought it was more a rich kid pastime.

I wanted to join frat life, but I simply did not have the money to join. Then when I changed schools, I ended up at a larger college where you didn't need to be in a frat to enjoy the party scene, so I was happily GDI, or "Goddamned Independent."

Corbin's school seems set up that everybody basically has to be in a fraternity/sorority. Like it's above 50 percent participation, which means you are going to have a hard time socializing outside of Greek life. My school when I attended was only 17 percent Greek, so I didn't have that problem.

Edited by methodwriter85
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7 minutes ago, methodwriter85 said:

My school when I attended was only 17 percent Greek, so I didn't have that problem.

I attended an engineering college in a small midwest town in the early 1970s. Students were predominantly male, so fraternities were popular. To me the only advantage was that they kept old tests on file, which gave them an advantage over non-fraternity people like me when testing. I did fine, though, so no problem.

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1 hour ago, Arran said:

I attended an engineering college in a small midwest town in the early 1970s. Students were predominantly male, so fraternities were popular. To me the only advantage was that they kept old tests on file, which gave them an advantage over non-fraternity people like me when testing. I did fine, though, so no problem.

We called ours ‘cold files’ and I definitely haven’t mentioned them enough, so thanks for bringing this up. This was one of the biggest perks of going Greek 

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